Brits Prepare to Support Team GB and ParalympicsGB at 2012 London Games

The British public is going to great lengths to give support to their home teams during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, has released the results of a survey that shows that British fans are prepared to cancel holiday plans or personal engagements to cheer for Team GB and ParalympicsGB during the summer.

With less than 50 days to go to the official opening of the 2012 Games, around 40 percent of people in Britain have begun to juggle their personal lives and careers to take time off to cheer for the home team. While 10 percent of British people have cancelled their holidays, another 10 percent have postponed their vacation plans, in order to watch the Games.

Ireland is the most enthusiastic region, with around 89 percent of the respondents from the country likely to change holiday plans for the Games, followed by 45 percent of respondents in the East Midlands, and 39 percent of those respondents in London.

Luisa Fernandez, the airline sponsorship manager, said, ‘It’s such a proud time to be British and we’re hoping to get the nation into the spirit by flying hundreds of ex-pats back to the UK to celebrate the summer of sport.

We are immensely proud to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB and will be doing everything we can to rally the nation behind them and give our athletes a home advantage.’

Around 43 percent of the respondents in the age group from 18 to 24 years are of the opinion that the best way to support their home team, is by personally attending events at the Games, while around 50 percent of the respondents in the over 55 age group will be lending their support to the home team in front of their TVs in the comfort of their own homes.

British team fans now have a new mascot to rally around with team GB’s unveiling of Pride the Lion. Pride is primarily white with a red and blue mane and a red and blue tip to his tail. With the team’s logo emblazoned on his body it is hoped that he will become a popular envoy for the British Olympic Association.

London 2012 Olympic Games to Use New Technology for Passenger Safety in Public Vehicles

Alexander Dennis (ADL), a bus and coach manufacturer in the UK, and the company responsible for providing public service vehicles for the 2012 Olympic Games, will be using new machine-to-machine technology to improve passenger safety.

The company is partnering with Traffilog, a web-based telematics company, to provide the maximum levels of security and safety for passengers using its fleet of buses.

The Traffilog machine-to-machine solution will also be providing safety and security on the fleet of buses to be operated by Kings Ferry, a UK coach operator with the responsibility for the transportation of police and VIPs during the Games.

The M2M devices feature the GE863-GPS advanced cellular modules, provided by Telit Wireless Solutions, transmitting real-time driver and mechanical performance information to fleet management centres, and allowing authorities to operate the fleet remotely, in case of emergencies.

Yoav Megged, the executive vice president at Traffilog, said, ‘Telit’s GE863-GPS module is a mission-critical component of our application because of its high reliability, ruggedness and quality performance. That’s why we rely on Telit modules for a large percentage of our systems worldwide.’

Dominikus Hierl, the chief marketing officer at Telit Wireless Solutions, said, ‘Traffilog’s application for the Olympic Games proves once again the growing significance of M2M technology and its combined benefits, specifically in the realm of public safety and personal security.’

Safety will be of paramount importance during the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics Games to be held in July and August 2012, and travellers to the city and Olympics venues are asked to comply with the stringent safety policies that are currently being put in place for a safe Games.

More London 2012 Olympic Tickets Released Even As Sales Remain Slow

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), has announced that around 43,000 more contingency tickets for the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games, and six additional sports, will be offered to public from June 8, 2012.

Tickets for Athletics, Swimming, Football at Wembley, Volleyball, Table Tennis and Boxing sessions will be available on a first come, first served basis during this sale, at www.tickets.london2012.com.

Tickets for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies commence at £995. Tickets for other sports on offer are available within a price range of £20 to £720, across 96 sessions. The tickets may only be purchased using Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards.

While the LOCOG has reported that around eight million tickets have been sold for both Games, there are still around three million tickets remaining unsold, which include Olympic Football, Paralympic and remaining contingency tickets, meaning that spectators can still pick up their favourite event tickets, even at this late date.

LOCOG commercial director, Chris Townsend, said, ‘With 50 days to go there are still plenty of ways to join in and be part of London 2012. We are at advance stages of venue planning and these represent the final release of Ceremonies and other sport tickets.

Over the next few weeks we will release further tickets for other Olympic sports and keep people informed when tickets are available. We are delighted with ticket sales to date, and have sold another 1 million tickets in the last four weeks, prioritising people who were unsuccessful last time around.’

British Airways Offers Complimentary Fares to Homebound Brits for 2012 Olympics

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, is offering complimentary tickets to friends and families of UK athletes and British citizens living outside the UK.

The airline is offering hundreds of complimentary flights and tickets to UK citizens staying overseas and wanting to come back to the UK to cheer on the home teams in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The airline has launched a promotion on its Facebook page, offering complimentary fares from 20 specific destinations around the world, with 12 tickets to London per destination. The flights are available from Sydney (Australia), Moscow (Russia), New York (US), Hong Kong (China), Cape Town (South Africa), Beijing (China) and Los Angeles (US). As part of this promotion, the airline is also offering tickets to the 2012 Games to every person that benefits from receiving the complimentary air tickets.

Luisa Fernandez, the airline manager of the home coming campaign, said, ‘This is the start of our campaign to get the country behind our athletes and give them an extra boost. Every extra clap, cheer and whoop we can offer, could make the difference to how they perform.’

British Airways will be launching its campaign on June 1, 2012, as part of its sponsorship for Team GB (Great Britain) and Paralympics GB.

The director of sport for the British Olympic Association, Sir Clive Woodward, said, ‘I really hope the whole country does get behind the team. Every British athlete needs help, needs support, and there’s no doubt that the crowd and the home support makes a huge difference.’

Airlines Report Increased Sales to London ahead of 2012 Olympics

Large numbers of travellers are buying air tickets to London, to visit the city during the 2012 Olympics Games, reports Amadeus IT Group, a US-based company and technology partner for providers, sellers, and buyers in the travel industry.

A report, published by Amadeus and market research company, Forward Keys, said that flight sales to London have increased by 13 percent for travel during the Olympics period, compared to the same period last year.

The report indicates that most travellers to London for the 2012 Games, which will run from July 27 to August 12, will come from the US, Germany and Australia.

Bookings to London from the US have increased by 12 percent for the Olympics period, compared to the same period in 2011. Airfare sales from New York to London have shown a record increase of 48 percent year-on-year, while there has been a 29 percent increase in air bookings from San Francisco to London for the same period, compared to 2011. Flights from Chicago to London have also shown a 13 percent increase in bookings for the 2012 London Games period, while there has been an 18 percent increase in bookings made from Washington DC to London.

The report also indicates that other countries showing a marked increase in travel to London include Netherlands, Brazil, France and Russia.

Hotels in London expect to see an increase of 7 percent year on year in the number of guests staying during the London Games period, with the busiest period being August 4 to 8, 2012.

Avoid Road Traffic with Canal Boat Travel to 2012 Games

Water Chariots, a UK-based boat service, is offering a canal boat service for visitors to the UK for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The company is the official 2012 Games Canal Boat operator, and is offering 12 canal boats in a scheduled service, and 18 sloop boats available for charter.

Water Chariots is offering departures from Limehouse Marina and Tottenham Hale, and travel via the River Lea, for the closest entry to the Olympic Park, which also hosts the Olympic Stadium and VIP hospitality area. Passengers will also be able to access hospitality areas at the departure points, which include entertainment and food venues.

Peter Coleman, the founder of Water Chariots, said, ‘I read about the millions of people expected to come to London for the Games and knowing the canals, thought that had to be the best way to get there.

I want to help make the day one of the most memorable in people’s lives. Our passengers will be the first people in history to arrive at an Olympic Games by canal boat. We will also be offering champagne, food and music to add to the experience. I want to bring Henley on Thames to the East of London.’

British Waterways, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and the Olympic Delivery Authority have together funded the infrastructure for the canal boat service.

Mark Blackwell, of British Waterways, said, ‘The waterways in the East End have been transformed, with over 5.5km opened up for the first time in 50 years. It’s fantastic that people will be able to enjoy them during the Olympics and in legacy. The canals and rivers are the lifeblood of London, a wonderfully serene and practical green route through a large and congested city.’

InterContinental Hotels Looking To Olympics for Growth Boost

UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group has reported strong results for the first quarter of 2012 and is upbeat for the rest of the year, as it expects a boost in growth from its sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics.

Richard Solomons, the chief executive officer of IHG, said in a statement, ‘Originally, two-thirds of rooms in 35 of our London hotels went to LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) as part of our support for the Games. LOCOG has just given us 20 per cent of those rooms back and they are back on general sale. Demand is high.’

The company has announced a 5 percent increase in profits in the 2012 first quarter, due to a robust travel economy in the US and Greater China. The overall growth has also been helped by its hotel properties in France, Germany and Britain, in spite of the economic turmoil in Europe. Earnings from the 2012 first quarter totalled £73 million, on revenues of £253 million.

Commenting on the brand’s results, Solomons said, ‘We have delivered strong performance in the quarter with global revenue per available room (RevPAR) up 7 percent and continued out-performance in the US and Greater China. The strength of our brands and systems, together with our scale and the close working relationships we have with our hotel owners, continue to underpin our success.’

The company currently operates around 4,500 hotels globally, offering more than 660,000 guest rooms. In the UK, the company has six hotels in the pipeline, including the InterContinental London Westminster, five Hotel Indigo hotels, and Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites hotels.

Hotel Room Rates To Fall in London for 2012 Olympics

Expedia Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE), a US-based online travel company, has announced that average hotel rates for the London 2012 Olympics are likely to fall further, as the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has released rooms that had previously been held back.

LOCOG, the organising committee for the Games, has surrendered around 8,000 hotel rooms to the market, which has seen a 25 percent drop in prices recently. LOCOG plans to release around 12,000 hotel rooms soon, to lower the average room rate for the Games still further.

The company is reporting that, currently, the average price of a hotel stay in London to coincide with the Games is £208 per night, which is lower than the predicted room rate of GBP280 per night reported at the beginning of the year.

Andy Washington, Expedia UK managing director, said, ‘A number of rooms have been released by LOCOG, so the average daily rate of a hotel room has been coming down. It’s been around 8,000 since the start of the year but we expect another 12,000 to come soon. We have seen this rate drop by six per cent in the last two weeks alone.’

Expedia is also reporting that currently there is not a shortage of rooms for Games visitors, with its website alone offering around 4,000 available rooms around these dates. Overseas visitors are expected to fly into Britain through the regional airports, including Manchester and Glasgow, with cheaper flights, avoiding major airports like Heathrow.

Brighton Offers Seaside Experience For Olympics Visitors

Brighton & Hove, a city in Sussex, England, may be the next best place for travellers to stay for the 2012 Olympic Games, after London.

While the accommodation in London is already peaking in terms of prices, or is fast becoming fully booked, Brighton remains a cheaper place to stay during the games and can offer attractions of its own.

The seaside city is an hour’s travel from London Bridge and London Victoria train stations. This is in direct contrast to stays in London, where travel experts are asking visitors travelling to Games venues to add around 90 minutes of extra travel time due to expected traffic congestion.

Hotels in Brighton are offering bed and breakfast for the duration of the Games at rates commencing from £50 per night, with luxury accommodation available at Drake’s Hotel Brighton for £89 per night, and at Umi Hotel Brighton for £120 per night.

The city has around 400 restaurants, and its local attractions include visits to Brighton Pier or the Royal Pavilion, or a walk through the North Laine, a vibrant artists quarter with small galleries and studio spaces. The beach is also a popular destination on warm summer days.

In addition to the previously mentioned rail connections, the city is connected to London with regular bus services, and many of the city’s residents regularly commute to London for work.

More tourist information will be available at VisitBrighton.com, the official Brighton tourism guide, which also has a list of hotels and accommodation for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Eurostar to Host Official London 2012 Festival Event, Traction

Eurostar International, a UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe and an official supporter of the London 2012 Festival, has announced that it is hosting a one-day summer festival, Eurostar presents Traction.

The festival, curateded by DJ, Gilles Peterson, will be bringing a number of European musical, dance and arts performers to Granary Square, London, on July 14, 2012, as part of the 12-week, UK-wide London 2012 Festival, celebrating the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Participants at the festival include French musician Sebastien Tellier, and Brandt Brauer Frick from Germany.

The tickets are available for sale at the company website.

Gilles Peterson, the event curator for Traction, said, ‘Emerging across Europe is a wealth of pioneering musical talent. Traction will give thousands of residents and visitors to the London 2012 Games the chance to discover the exciting new music on offer just a short journey from the UK. In curating this very special event, we will bring a truly original experience to the public as they celebrate the arrival of the Games in London.’

The director of marketing for Eurostar, Lionel Benbassat, said, ‘With such an inspiring and eclectic mix of European music, art and dance, London’s newest creative quarter will come to life for the first time in July. We are excited to be bringing together Europe’s finest talent from across our destinations as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations.’

Eurostar is the Official International Rail Service Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.